Education news is almost always about secondary education and higher education. Middle school is lost in the muddle, and elementary school seems just too elementary. Why particularly is the focus disproportionately on high ed and high schools rather than elementary schools? One reason is that news follows tests results, just like business follows earning reports. While there are so many tests facing high school students (high school entrance examinations, the SAT, the ACT, the Regents, and Advanced Placement exams, to name a few), there are so few tests in elementary education. In New York State, elementary students take a high-stakes test in fourth grade.
With elementary education needing some attention, I point to a couple articles that highlight the instructional battles in elementary schools. New York Magazine in 2006 reminded us that the Reading Wars are not yet over and The New York Times, also in 2006, synthesized the reformist education pedagogy of the elementary school charter networks (Amistad, KIPP, and Achievement First). If you haven’t read these articles, do so – Theses are two of the best pieces of education journalism I’ve read, and how students fare in the early stage of the education pipeline shapes their trajectory through its later stages.